Lopetegui sacked, Fekir deal off and the World Cup just one day away; Let’s take a look at a mad week that was, in the footballing world.
Lopetegui To Madrid Takes A Bizarre Turn
A surprising appointment that has been the talking point of the footballing world over the last few days, Real Madrid announced that Spanish head coach Julen Lopetegui will become their manager following the World Cup.
Lopetegui will take over from recently departed Zinedine Zidane who won a historic three European cups in a row after the Frenchman announced his departure from Madrid last month.
The story then took a bizarre turn on Wednesday when Lopetegui was relieved of his duties by the Spanish FA after they claimed that he had withheld the move to Madrid from them.
The 51-year-old has been in charge of the Spanish national team for 2 years and has an impressive 70% win record at the helm of La Roja, but his side may fall apart now that Lopetegui has been dismissed.
48 Team World Cup Plans Put On Hold
It emerged earlier this week that FIFA were seriously considering upping the number of teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48.
Those plans, however, were shelved according to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, after it was removed from the agenda at the governing body’s 68th annual conference.
Similar to the expansion of the European Championships, the increase in teams would give smaller countries the chance to compete in the tournament but could result in the quality of the competition dropping.
Speaking after a Fifa Council meeting in Moscow on Sunday, Infantino said: “The dates have been fixed from the 20 something of November until 18 December with 32 teams in Qatar, and this is the decision and the decision stands and that is the end of the story.”
Marcelo Bielsa Edges Closer And Closer To Leeds United
In what continues to be one of the most bizarre stories of the summer so far, it looks as though ex-Argentina boss Marcelo Bielsa will become the new manager of Championship side Leeds United.
Bielsa, who has been credited as an inspiration to the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola, has apparently been mulling over the Yorkshire club’s offer over the last 48 hours and would become the highest paid manager in Leeds United’s history should he be appointed.
Leeds United finished 13th in the Championship last season and sacked manager Paul Heckingbottom last month after only 16 games in charge, making him the eleventh manager to leave the club in just five years – a worrying stat for Bielsa.
The Chilean, however, has been far from settled recently himself lasting just 13 games as Lille manager and only 2 days as Lazio manager the season before that, meaning the two parties maverick tendencies may make them the perfect fit for one another.
Either that or it’ll be another disaster to add to a growing list coming out of Leeds United Football Club.
Irish Women’s World Cup Dreams Dashed By Norway
After two defeats in the space of four days, the Irish women’s national team can now no longer qualify for the World Cup in France in 2019.
Colin Bell’s side lost home and away to group rivals Norway meaning that with just one game to go they are five points off second, and cannot qualify for next year’s tournament.
They needed a victory on Tuesday night in Stavanger, having lost 0-2 on Friday night to the same opposition in Tallaght, but they missed a number of good chances and bemoaned a defensive lapse as Norway booked their place in the playoffs at Ireland’s expense.
Ireland had a promising start to the qualifying campaign picking up 10 points from their first four games, but defeat means that they must wait to participate in their first ever World Cup.
Liverpool’s Proposed Move For Nabil Fekir Breaks Down
A disappointing blow for Liverpool this week as their move for Lyon midfielder Nabil Fekir failed to clear the final hurdle.
It looked as though the Frenchman’s arrival at Anfield was a done deal before his club Lyon pulled the plug on the deal at the last minute, which included this statement on the matter.
Olympique Lyonnais have announced that the tripartite negotiations conducted with Liverpool and Nabil Fekir with regard to the transfer of OL’s captain have no produced a conclusive result and that OL have decided to end these negotiations at 2000 hours this evening.
Liverpool reportedly tried to lower their offer for Fekir after his medical revealed a knee problem, and it is unclear whether or not Liverpool will attempt to revive the deal or look to another player instead.